The Hennepin County Attorney’s Office said Wednesday that a Minnesota infamous white supremacist has been charged with murder after allegedly ramming his automobile into a gathering of protestors and killing one of them.
Nicholas Kraus was apparently inebriated at the time of the attack, which did not appear to be targeted.
The claimed encounter happened shortly before midnight on June 13 during a peaceful protest over the murder of Winston Boogie Smith Jr., a 32-year-old Black man who was shot by members of a federal U.S. Marshals Service task force on June 3.
Kraus, 35, is suspected of driving his Jeep SUV at the protestors and colliding with another car placed as a protective barricade for the protestors, causing the barricade car to crash into the victims. According to the criminal complaint, witness statements and security video reveal that Kraus was speeding at the time of the collision.
According to the complaint, one lady was found comatose at the scene and subsequently died at a local hospital after suffering “serious head injuries.”
Three other persons were hurt as well. Deona Knajdek, a 31-year-old activist and mother of two, has been named as the deceased victim by CBS Minnesota.
Kraus faces one count of second-degree murder with intent and two charges of second-degree assault with a deadly weapon.
Kraus’ acts were not politically motivated, according to the complaint, and the deliberate second-degree murder accusation says that, though Kraus meant to cause death, his acts were not planned.
Hennepin County District Attorney Mike Freeman said there is no indication Kraus targeted the demonstration explicitly during a press briefing on the charges against him and another man accused in a separate incident on Tuesday.
Despite this, he released a forceful statement denouncing Kraus and the other defendant, stating that while situations like this are often prosecuted as criminal vehicular murder, the men’s actions were “so severe, in my opinion, they merited a second-degree deliberate charge.”
According to the complaint, Kraus was restrained by others on the scene and was “visibly drunk“ when cops arrived.
He allegedly informed authorities the next day that he observed the automobile serving as a barricade and that “he thought he needed to climb over it” when questioned.
According to the complaint, “the defendant said that he accelerated in order to try to leap the barricade and confessed that he did not attempt to brake.”
“The defendant acknowledged that he pushed the gas pedal in the hopes of leapfrogging the roadblock.”
Because he had lost his license owing to drinking offences, Kraus allegedly acknowledged to authorities that the vehicle was registered in someone person’s name.
Kraus has several DWI offences, including a felony DWI conviction, according to the lawsuit. The results of his blood tests are still waiting.